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5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru


Postby Haydn1996 » Wed Aug 02, 2023 11:44 am

Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse

Munros included on this walk: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Càrn a' Mhàim, Sgòr an Lochain Uaine, The Devil's Point

Date walked: 25/07/2023

Time taken: 18 hours

Distance: 56.24 km

Ascent: 2595m

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I'd been looking forward to this walk for a while. I'd only previously spent just over a week in total in the Cairngorms and to be honest, my feeling of the area wasn't particularly fond. I'd enjoyed the time I'd spent there, but my impression of it was that it was pretty bleak and featureless. Ben Macdui and Cairn Gorm were the only Munros I'd walked in the area, but I spent a week there earlier this year during my Mountain Leader training and the feeling of barrenness was only amplified. Don't get me wrong, I still thought it was a beautiful area, in its own way, and I'd still rather be cutting about there than in a city any day of the week, but compared to the west coast scenery.. Yea, it just didn't quite compete. That was until I did this two day trip, walking through the Lairig Ghru and clambering up the Munros on the ridge that guards this high pass from the left side. The views were stunning, as you can see from the pictures later on in this report..

I parked the car at the lay-by just beyond the Rothiemurchus centre. The rain hadn't started yet and I was feeling hopeful that it would stay in the clouds for a decent wee while.. At least I was being optimistic! After 40 minutes the rain started and that was pretty much it for the rest of the day. I was afforded some dramatic views of the cliffs that guard either side of the Lairig Ghru. I'd heard a lot about this high pass through the mountains and was actually happy to see the rain - the atmosphere was amazing, ghostly even, as I watched the clouds roll through the gulleys on the cliffs.

DSC00034.jpg
Clouds rolling over the ridge into the Lairig Ghru


Eventually I reached the famous Corrour bothy. It was only 4pm, so I decided to continue walking the Lairig Ghru to then reach the path up to Carn a'Mhaim. I bagged a space in the bothy, emptied my pack to lighten the load and reached the summit in decent time. The path up to this munro was steep but I made it in good time, with little time spent at the summit on account of the lack of a view! I was back in the bothy just after 7pm. There were 3 other people there at this point, who I tried to chat to but they were getting ready for bed and not in a very conversational mood, it seemed.. Oh well, I thought, each to their own. But then they actually got into their beds at about half 7! I wasn't sure if they'd maybe had a rough and wet day or something, but it meant that I couldn't heat up my dinner or sit reading my book in the bothy as I didn't want to be making a racket while they were trying to sleep. This was fine and I sat on a chair in the doorway of the bothy eating my cold dinner, but I just thought that this was a little strange and perhaps not very much in the spirit of staying in a bothy.. But what can ye do?

DSC00051.jpg
Corrour bothy in the moody rain


The next morning I was back out on the hill for 3:55am, so that I could be at the first summit of the day for sunrise. I reached The Devil's Point in plenty of time, so I got out the stove, made some coffee and patiently waited for the sun to warm me up while I soaked up the ever changing views of the surrounding hills. I also had time to read a bit about the Munro I was standing on and was quite amused with the translation of the proper Gaelic name for this hill.. Go and have a look for yourself.

DSC00057.jpg
The River Dee, just before dawn.


DSC00071.jpg
Sunlight breaking on Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir, with Cairn Toul behind it


DSC00083.jpg
The sunrise was worth the early start!


After watching the sun come up, I continued along the ridge to bag the remaining three Munros. This was a brilliant walk, all the better for the rain on the first day and apart from my awkward bothy situation, I really really enjoyed this and it definitely changed my opinion of the Cairngorms. I'm looking forward to going back to explore more of the area!
Haydn1996
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:89   Corbetts:5
Fionas:1   
Hewitts:16
Wainwrights:21   
Joined: Jul 22, 2020
Location: Glasgow

Re: 5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

Postby WildAboutWalking » Wed Aug 02, 2023 12:04 pm

Enjoyed your photos and report, but I was looking forward to a description and photos of your walk over Cairn Toul, Braeriach etc, as this is a traverse that I very much want to do - more please!

Interesting your comments about not being fond of the Cairngorms - many years ago (decades) I felt the same, and would flog on up the A9 on my way to what I mistakenly thought of as better mountains, without giving the Cairngorms a second look. My mistake! Over the years I have grown to love them - the tranquil beauty of Glen Derry, the splendour of Glen Feshie, the brutal drama of the Lairig Ghru, the arctic scenery of Loch Etchachan and the unsurpassed grandeur of the hills themselves. And I have barely scratched the surface - so much more to look forward to!
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WildAboutWalking
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Re: 5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

Postby WildAboutWalking » Wed Aug 02, 2023 12:04 pm

Oops - double post again. Seems to happen quite often when I post on this forum for some reason.
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WildAboutWalking
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Re: 5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

Postby JWCW2014 » Wed Aug 02, 2023 4:19 pm

Good photos - very charitable in being so quiet at 7.30pm!

It’s relatively busy but I loved this route when I did it (in reverse) last summer with a camp at the bealach below the Devil’s point. The cairn Toul - Braeriach section is fantastic, though it was something like 24c+ and windless when I did it, it’d be nice to do it again when less frazzled!

Agree with wild about walking - some people don’t seem to rate the cairngorms but I love the feeling of space and the scale.
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JWCW2014
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Posts: 429
Munros:90   Corbetts:4
Fionas:1   Donalds:1+0
Sub 2000:12   
Islands:11
Joined: May 31, 2022

Re: 5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

Postby Haydn1996 » Thu Aug 03, 2023 5:16 pm

The traverse was actually pretty straight forward, apart from a boulder field on both the ascent and descent of Cairn Toul. That could have been a bit hairy if it was wet, but luckily the rain had disappeared overnight. But apart from that it was easy going considering the height of these mountains and how mammoth they look at the start of the ridge!
I'm looking forward to exploring all of these areas, the Cairngorms Secret Histories book that I've started reading has made me even more interested in this area now too!

WildAboutWalking wrote:Enjoyed your photos and report, but I was looking forward to a description and photos of your walk over Cairn Toul, Braeriach etc, as this is a traverse that I very much want to do - more please!

Interesting your comments about not being fond of the Cairngorms - many years ago (decades) I felt the same, and would flog on up the A9 on my way to what I mistakenly thought of as better mountains, without giving the Cairngorms a second look. My mistake! Over the years I have grown to love them - the tranquil beauty of Glen Derry, the splendour of Glen Feshie, the brutal drama of the Lairig Ghru, the arctic scenery of Loch Etchachan and the unsurpassed grandeur of the hills themselves. And I have barely scratched the surface - so much more to look forward to!
Haydn1996
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:89   Corbetts:5
Fionas:1   
Hewitts:16
Wainwrights:21   
Joined: Jul 22, 2020
Location: Glasgow

Re: 5 Munros from the Lairig Ghru

Postby Haydn1996 » Thu Aug 03, 2023 5:20 pm

Thanks a lot! Was quite chuffed with them, although I can never seem to fully capture just how amazing the views are sometimes. More practise!!

Aye when I was almost back down onto the Lairig Ghru, I was passing a lot of people doing it in this opposite direction but by that point in the day it was already sweltering and they all looked fairly puffed out.. I was very glad about my early start decision to dodge the heat!

JWCW2014 wrote:Good photos - very charitable in being so quiet at 7.30pm!

It’s relatively busy but I loved this route when I did it (in reverse) last summer with a camp at the bealach below the Devil’s point. The cairn Toul - Braeriach section is fantastic, though it was something like 24c+ and windless when I did it, it’d be nice to do it again when less frazzled!

Agree with wild about walking - some people don’t seem to rate the cairngorms but I love the feeling of space and the scale.
Haydn1996
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:89   Corbetts:5
Fionas:1   
Hewitts:16
Wainwrights:21   
Joined: Jul 22, 2020
Location: Glasgow

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